One organization made a request for funds Monday during a public hearing for the use of Local Government Economic Assistance (LGEA) allowances. The hearing was one of two on the agenda for the Webster County Fiscal Court’s special called meeting.
The body also conducted a hearing to hear requests for use of county road assistance money, but no one present spoke.
The county expects estimated amounts of $85,143.37 and $1,003,970 for the two allocations, respectively.
Infinite Hope Kentucky, an organization that assists families in the aftermath of suicides, asked the court for $5,625 to be included in the 2023-24 county budget for a contribution to their work.
Spokesperson Cindy Weaver, a Webster County native who works with the non-profit, explained that her office covers Webster, Union, and Henderson counties, and that the amount is relatively small when compared to their costs.
“A typical clean-up can cost between $4,000 and $6,000,” she said
The agency responds to scenes where a suicide has already taken place and focuses on helping guide the survivors through the first days of life afterward.
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“The first 24 hours are critical,” Weaver said.
She further explained that of the 120 counties in Kentucky, Webster ranks third in suicides per 1,000 residents with an average of four annually. Across all three counties, 17 people take their own lives each year.
“Rural areas have the highest rates,” Weaver pointed out. “I always thought it would be metropolitan areas, but it’s more prevalent in small towns.”
The demographic with the highest risk is farmers, she said.
Rural areas typically offer very little mental health counseling, which leads to a lack of recognition of potential suicidal risk. Weaver said River Valley Behavioral Health does some work in training and counseling in the region.
While the amount asked for is just a small part of the organization’s annual needs, Weaver said the group does take donations to continue its work. Contributions can be made through the website at infinitehopekentucky.com.
Decisions will be made later on how the two funds will be spent.